Sunday, February 27, 2011

Simply Sunnah Blog

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

I have decided to open a new blog, called Simply Sunnah. As some of you know, I have been running groups about the Sunnah and also on returning to many of the natural ways of living that were modeled during the time of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam for a few years now. They were exclusively for women, but I have not maintained the most recent group regularly, so moving to a blog should make it easier and open it up to whoever may benefit.

I have  put a first preparatory post on the blog. After that, I will include many different aspects about the Sunnah inshaa'Allah, with details, resources, and e-book recommendations. Inshaa'Allah, for those who are keen to learn and develop their understanding and emulation of the Sunnah, this will be a beneficial blog to follow.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Surat Al-Fatiha

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Many of you may have read the hadith Qudsi about Surat Al Fatiha, so I won't post it here. However, I was just pondering how the surah makes me feel. I've written all the English translations of the ayaat, rather than the transliteration.

When I say the first lines, I feel totally protected and under the care of my Creator; my existence was willed in this universe.When I say, "you alone do we worship, you alone do we turn for help," I feel that I have someone perfect to turn to and rely on; I feel secure and safe. When I get to, "guide us to the Straight Path," I feel desperate and I want to say it over and over again; I am aware of my extreme weakness and total reliance on Allah to keep me steadfast. Sometimes in the prayer, I repeat it two or three times before moving on. When I say, "the path of those who earn your pleasure and not of those who earn your wrath or have gone astray," I feel focused on the Goal; I see the path to Jennah and feel resolve against shaytaan. I come out of that recitation ready for the next battle, subhaan Allah.

We are told that half of the prayer is for Allah and half is for the servant, but subhaan Allah it is all a complete therapy session for the servant. When I read about the Quran being a spiritual cure, I can understand it more and more. It's better than a pep talk, deeper than a reality check, and more reassuring than a parent. No wonder it is called, "The Mother of the Book!" Subhaan Allah wa bi hamdihi, subhaana Rabbi al atheem!

How does it make you feel?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Polygyny Scenarios

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykkum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
A dear sister posted these scenarios in a polygyny group that is no longer in existence. The situations can easily be perceived as negative or problems.... so I'm making lemonade with them. I have never faced any of these situations personally, but they are quite easy to envisage. These were my responses, which I pray are pleasing to Allah.

The family is visiting husband's non-muslim family. Somehow one wife ends up sitting right next to hubby, and there are no other seats nearby.
Qadr Allah wa al hamdul'Illah. I sit somewhere else, preferably beside someone I know and can talk to...a female relative or hubby's dad.

Being first wife, you have control of the bank account. when the new wife arrives what happens to your job as banker?

I would ask if he wants me to relinquish my “banking position,” or suggest that hubby sets up a separate joint account for them and allocates funds there so she can do the same for that home...or he can manage that account separately.

You and husband are invited to a dinner on the night of the other. The hosts don't want your entire family there. Now what?
Ask the hosts to reschedule for my night. Hubby might ask the other to change her night so we can go, if it can't work otherwise. After all, I'd  do the same in a reverse situation.

You and co-wife are riding in the car and your cell phone goes off... it's him. When you're finished saying you're fine, etc what about the other sister? Do you give her the phone?
Yes, I give her the phone. Why not?

The husband told you he's on his way to a business seminar. You realize you haven't visited the sister in a while so you decide to go over since the husband is occupied with business.... so when you call to say you're on the way, guess who answers? Now what?

I would say, “Oh, sorry! I thought you were at the seminar and I was calling to arrange to visit my sister. Please forgive my intrusion.” Hey, Allah is the All Knower and Judge. He might have been there to say goodbye to her or make sure everything is in order in that home before he leaves. If he was lying and trying to deceive, then it is his account and I lose a few more sins from mine. Great deal really... About the time division, if that's how he is, he can stay there as long as he likes. Better to have LESS of the one who doesn't fear Allah or doesn't appreciate me.

The three of you want to go on hajj. How do you identify your selves? Wife, sister, friend?

Husband and wives.

You've got your kids and she has hers. When it's her time yours stay home with you. when it's your time, hers come with dad. No big deal?

Yes, big deal. This would depend GREATLY on how the children are raised. If they are on the same page as mine, well behaved, good adaab, akhlaaq, and iqraam and hubby is taking care of them primarily, then okay. If not, then not fair, not working, and no thanks. Also, totally monitored play with my children. I wouldn't want to feel any resentment that they were in anyway introducing bad habits or corruption to my children.  I have enough of that from school! Better safe than sorry.

You've been wanting that ______ for the longest. Now finally hubby goes to the store with you, but he says he cannot afford that one, so you settle for another one that is smaller. A couple of weeks later you are invited to the other house, and what do you see? The ______ that you really wanted! No big deal?

Qadr Allah, ma shaa fa'al. Allah exposed the situation to me, but I don't know if hubby bought that for her or she bought it with her own money.It may have been a wedding gift. He may even have taken her and offered the less expensive model and she chose to pay the difference.  If I thought badly of him about it, without looking at the possible circumstances, then I take a sin on myself. We need to think the best of others, not the worst...or even just okay thoughts. Allah is the judge, and if I have been unfairly treated, then mashaa'Allah, hubby's taking my sins for it so al hamdul'Illah! Things won't get me to Jennah, but a clean account will surely help inshaa'Allah!

You keep pining away for the kids that moved away. Your husband jokes that he'll just marry someone who can have more. Joke or hint?

Probably hint. Never forget, as with everything, it's about quality not quantity. It's a beautiful thing to have good children raised on correct knowledge and deep faith, but not just more children. To raise children well takes a great deal of time, effort, and patience. He may joke about it, but it won't be any laughing matter when he has to help raise those children....and if he doesn't help, he will suffer the consequences.

As for the wife who is no longer making babies, she no longer has those year long hormonal horrors that hubby has to deal with. She no longer has 40 days nifaas, and eventually, not even a menses to stop the relations mashaa'Allah. I long came to the realization that there are benefits in being past baby making years because you are always consistent and available...and offer a much more relaxing environment for hubby, mashaa'Allah. See, every side has it's benefits and attractive features. Qadr Allah, I must enjoy the benefits of my situation and make the most of them. I can live with being the retreat from crying babies and mayhem.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Repost:The Non-Muslim Sunnah

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah.

Why are all the non-Muslims raving about the Sunnah?

What, you ask? Is there a group of non-Muslims that have learned about the Sunnah and love it? No. There are masses of non-Muslims who swear by living the Sunnah - but they don't know it is the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet. They just know it is the best way to live.

So, I ask you...why do they know and practice, and we don't?

Why is it that when you go to the doctor, they tell you to eat whole, unrefined grains, natural unprocessed foods, fruits, vegetables, and unrefined oils like olive oil? Sunnah food! We are warned day in day out about avoiding chemical-laden, refined and processed foods like white sugar, white flour, white rice, etc? Why are they telling us to use honey, which we have ahadith and Quran ayaat about? Why are they giving us tips about how to eat mindfully, when we have extensive ahadith about the etiquettes of eating that tell us these things?

Why is it that the Green Revolution is telling us to build houses out of earth, just as Rasool Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) built the first masjid in Madinah? In the secular world, we are reminded that every day is Earth Day. In Islam, every day IS Earth Day because we have been given this earth as an amanah (trust) from Allah. They tell us not to use dangerous and harmful chemicals...subhaan Allah, it's as if they read the ayaat in the Quran "and do not destroy yourselves."

We turn up our noses at the "primitive" squat toilets used in the Middle East, but the west says that they are the healthiest toilets to use for proper elimination and even sell steps to use in front of western toilets to give the same effect of crouching. Subhaan Allah! We are even told that conventional toilets are a huge waste and pollution of water and composting toilets are the way to secure our earth's future.

Just go online and you will see articles and blogs about giving up material things, getting rid of the clutter. Non-Muslims are raving about the virtues and value of giving up unnecessary things to better appreciate what is important in life. So now, we have non-Muslims taking practical steps towards Az-Zuhd, when we are out shopping and filling our homes.

Non-Muslims are recycling, living for a year without throwing anything away to see how they can reduce their impact on the earth. They have gone back to the materials used in the time of the Prophet - iron, steel, glass, pottery - and shunned the plastic, aluminum, and teflon found to be so dangerous to our health. They even went back to the Sunnah in the materials they use - cotton, hemp, linen, wool, silk, leather, while we buy Japanese polyester abayas and thobes.

Frankly, I think we look a little foolish. What have we come to that the rest of the world is doing what was sent us by Allah, in the form of our Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and his Sunnah, as the best example of how to live?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Beauty of Cloth

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaikum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Ever read a single hadith about anyone having a paper napkin, paper towel, tissue, toilet paper, disposable diaper, flushable tampon, or disposable sanitary pad in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? Well, I'm waiting. What? You cannot believe it? There isn't anything about Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) wiping up the mess with Bounty Extra-Strong? Nothing about Sumayyah (may Allah be pleased with her) digging a hole for her Stayfree with Wings? I guess you get where I'm heading with this then.

During the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), they used cloth for all these daily household and personal care things. The "green" movement has already gone back to using cloth because, after killing off and wasting so many natural resources, it has become an environmental issue. Most of us know by now that the diapers and sanitary pads stay in landfills and don't decompose. We are simply filling up the earth Allah (subhaana wa taala) has entrusted to us with najiss (filthy) waste. How do we turn this thing around?

Napkins: buy cloth napkins made from natural fibers such as cotton or linen. If you can, please buy them from a thrift or second hand shop like Goodwill. You will often find better quality and will put them to good use instead of them going to waste. You will also gain the reward of not spending more money than necessary, masha'Allah. Better yet, use those extra sheets or cotton shirts and make your own; after all it's just sewing around a square of cloth. Recycling is an important Sunnah... yet another discussion to get to! I have seen some beautiful napkins at yard sales, etc. and have collected them from here and there, masha'Allah. Some were given as gifts as well, so think of this when you need a gift idea for a sister insha'Allah. Now, we have a nice little basket with napkins folded up in it and whenever they are needed, they are on hand. They get thrown in the washing machine and are good to go again. We even take them with us on picnics with all our reusable plates, cups, and cutlery masha'Allah.

Paper towels: buy cloths to wipe up the spills or simply cut up old towels or absorbent t-shirts. When it comes to cleaning and wiping up spills, I have a big bag of cotton clothes that aren't fit for charity that I cut up and use. I never buy paper towels and the cloth is all natural cotton. Nothing beats a nice tube sock on the hand for wiping down cupboards and countertops...and since the odd socks keep turning up, our house is quite famous for our cleaning socks! When the cloth is dirty simply wash it, or if it is in a horrible state, throw it away. No more paper towel bills.

Tissues: buy cotton handkerchiefs. I'm stressing cotton because we really need to get back to natural materials. I strongly recommend you look in thrift stores and yard sales for these simply because the old ones are exquisite, masha'Allah, The embroidery work, the designs, the workmanship... all are outstanding. My mother had a big collection of handkerchiefs she was happy to share with us. I also bought a big lot from e-bay and distributed them to my children. The girls all know which ones are theirs because they each have different designs. The "men" of the house have their own as well. They are washed, returned and we never have a problem about running out of tissues.

Toilet tissue/paper: Small washcloth or hand size towels for drying oneself. Separate (color coded) ones for each family member. We use water to wash ourselves, so they are really for drying purposes only. This is one that, for most, is hard to implement with a big family, so I'm not stressing it.

Diapers: Get cloth diapers. That's the Sunnah, cloth. Get cotton, nice and absorbent, no allergy problems for your baby's behind, simply throw into a bucket with water and vinegar or baking soda, and throw in the washing machine every couple of days. You will never have to buy a disposable diaper again. I've done it, I can advise about all the ins and outs of making it easy, inshaa Allah.

Baby Wipes: Use small baby washcloths and a spray bottle of water with some aloe vera juice, a few drops of tea tree oil, and a 1/4 teaspoon of castille soap. Spray and wipe, then simply wash the cloths to be used again and again. Your baby will get used to being washed with water from day one, making istinjah a natural thing.

Sanitary pads: Hemp or cotton washable sanitary pads are comfortable, natural, and the Sunnah. Go read ahadith about it and you'll clearly see that the women simply used pieces of cloth to catch their menstrual blood. I bought mine five years ago, before I had my second daughter and I've never looked back since. They don't move around, they are comfortable and breathe, and mashaa Allah I haven't had to buy a single sanitary pad since that day. If you hate to see stains, then go for dark colors. For the sewing sisters, there are patterns online for ones with wings that you can sew up simply. You can even buy thick hemp knit material and just cut it to size. Looking for an even easier solution. Fold thick terry washcloths into three and use them. Believe me, it is simplicity itself. Just have a little bag to collect them in, wash them, and you are all set again.

Shopping Bags: Get strong canvas bags from thrift stores, freecycle, or hanging around your closet/basement and use them for your shopping instead of the plastic bags. They are stronger, can safely hold more, and not only save money but also the environment mashaa'Allah.

Mashaa'Allah, going back to some of the simple living of the sahabah not only brings about a healthier lifestyle, it also saves the earth, puts a stop to the huge waste we perpetrate every day, and eliminates many expenses. Remember that we must answer for everything we did in this life, including our wastefulness, extravagance, the part we play in polluting and destroying the earth, and the distance we have put between our lives and the life of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).

Friday, February 18, 2011

These are a Few of my Favorite Things....

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

I feel like I want to reach out and share a little of who I am with you all. I'd love to hear back from you with some of your favorite things, too.

Favorite blog: Tawheed First
Favorite websites:;
Favorite color: Green - from pastel mint, seafoam, and soft sage to olive, emerald, and forest....the color our our beautiful gowns in Jennah, inshaa'Allah.
Favorite environment: the rural countryside...far from the madding crowd and with a mountain to take my sheep to in these times of fitna.
Favorite houses: Cob houses...totally Sunnah!
Favorite author: Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah.
Favorite food: organic vegetarian - sorry but I like too many things to choose just one.
Favorite drink: Zamzam water
Favorite flower: Freesia
Favorite exercise: long, long walks
Favorite time of day: the two hours each side of fajr prayer (yes, I'm definitely a morning person, lol!)

A Quick Thought

Bism Illah wa as salaam alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

If you want to have patience about your life and future, look at your past. 

It is in looking back at our past that we see how everything was part of a perfect orchestration. Not a single event occurred that didn't teach us something, change our life in some way, and contribute to who we are today. When we see how some of the most bizarre and unexplainable events have turned out, it puts everything in perspective. It all had value, it all had it's role and importance in our life, and at the end of it we are all still here... our hearts didn't stop beating, our world didn't end. Looking back and pondering all that we have been through makes it easy to have conviction about our present and sabr about our future.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Polygyny Update: Just Taking it Easy

Bism Illah wa as salaam alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Well, here we are about six weeks into the polygyny. How's it going, you ask? All's well, al hamdul'Illah. We have had three Family Friday's now, the second meeting we went to a restaurant for lunch which just wasn't  a good atmosphere for getting acquainted. This past Friday we went to the park with a picnic. Hubby left us all to get set up and left for about 20 minutes to pick something up. That gave us some time to talk and, as it centered around the food, it was an easy conversation to have and quite comfortable. Certainly, once we started playing a game with our poof football, everyone was laughing and having fun.

I had set my mind to be very careful not to be overly familiar with hubby around Zainab, to show respect for her and not make her uncomfortable. I even made mental notes not to call him "habibi" or touch him when we are all together. However, Zainab was far more relaxed about it all, running for the ball and holding him around the waist to stabilize herself, even blowing him a kiss when we dropped her off at work. That has taken some pressure off me, as having more comfortable boundaries and less restrictions will make for a more natural relationship between us all.

The children are all benefiting from this set up. Our daughters have more one-on-one time with me, which is important now as they are developing their personalities and need more connections, more guidance, more course correction, and more love and nurturing. They spend more quality time with their father now, and I pray that continues - ameen. The step children are really enjoying the different atmosphere and lifestyle at Zainab's home, mashaa'Allah. It gives them a chance to express themselves differently as well, as they only speak in Arabic to Zainab and is a fresh ear for their interests and banter. My step-daughter is thrilled to have a step-mother and friend all of her own. This is, although temporary until Zainab has babies, a very important thing for her, as in our home she is always one of three girls and of four children with little personal attention - something she craves. Who's left? Hubby, of course...and he is very happy, wa al hamdul'Illah. Everyone has a piece of contentment and some needs filled with this situation, so it's really just a matter of us all striving to increase our knowledge and please Allah. 

I am so happy with the arrangement that I don't want to ever go  back to monogamy! I must say though that the pace is quick and I barely feel the benefits of my night off before it's my night again. I'm starting to think that a third wife would give me that extra time to really get well-rested well, LOL ;P

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Interpreting Others: the Price and the Debt

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

When your brother or sister in Islam says or does something and instantly a bad interpretation pops into your mind, think about the price and the debt. 

We can so easily think of negative and ill-willed interpretations of others' words and actions, but where do those interpretations come from? They are, most surely, shaytaan's whispers. The price of thinking the worst is ill feeling, hurt, and a great deal of thought as to why they said or did something bad. It damages your relationship and makes you reconsider its value. It is work to be hurt or upset by someone. It is work to harbour bad feelings in your heart about someone. It is work to have enmity in your life. You also run the risk of misjudging or misreading what they said or did putting the sin of slander on your account.
'Abd Allah said, "Sometimes a victim of robbery will become so suspicious [of everyone around him] that he will become worse than the thief."* (Bukhari)   
*In other words, his suspicions will lead him to doubt everyone until he has destroyed every one of his relationships.
Abu Huraira, r.a., reported that the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, said, "Be careful of suspicion, for it is the most mistaken of all speech. Do not spy on others, compete among yourselves, envy one another, or despise one another. Rather, be servants of Allah and brothers!" (Bukhari and others)
However, the price of taking the good interpretation is actively seeking and finding some good and/or benefit in what they said or did. It also means forgoing bad feelings about that person and focusing on all the good you know in them. It isn't hard work and it doesn't cause you pain, ill feeling, or damage the relationship.

The debt you have to the person who said or did that thing is to find a good interpretation. You are not supposed to be looking for faults in them.
It was narrated from ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: “Do not think badly of a word uttered by your brother, when you can find a good interpretation for it.”
Although considered  weak hadith, there are a couple of narrations that I always have in my mind.
From the words of Hamdun al-Qassar, one of the great early Muslims..

"If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves [ibid]"

And the words of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq , “If you find see something you don’t like in a brother, try to find 1-70 excuses for him. And if you can’t find an excuse, say ‘There might be an excuse, but I don’t know it.’ “
When you take the bad interpretation, you cannot fulfil your debt to Allah...
'Abd Allah reported that the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, said, "A believer is not a fault-finder and is not abusive, obscene, or coarse." (Bukhari)
Why are we commanded to find excuses and take a good interpretation? Because if we take the good and the person intended it as good, then we have strengthened the trust and bonds of brotherhood/sisterhood with them. If the person intended something bad by what they said or did, and we look for the good interpretation, we give them da'wah. Nothing brings inner shame to a person more than knowing themselves that they are not worthy of another person's esteem and positive interpretation of their actions. We give them an example of how beautiful their intentions could be, and how we trust and expect them to be. Nowadays it has a fancy term called empowerment.  This is psychology at its finest. Never forget, Allah created Freud, Bandura, Adler, Jung, Maslow, etc. but He has the most perfect and intimate knowledge of His creation and how to bring them to the good.  

Subhaan Allah wa bi hamdihi, subhaana Rabbi al atheem!

Monday, February 7, 2011

News Flash on Fear and Hope

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

I'm in the middle of mopping the kitchen floor, but I had this thought and had to share. I have always been told that Islam is a balance between fear and hope. I was thinking about my prayers and how I have never intentionally missed a prayer in my almost 23 years of being Muslim, mashaa'Allah. This is because there is no option for me - the prayers are fard (obligatory). For everything that Allah has said is fard upon His servants, I understand that there are no ifs or buts, I MUST do them. Here is where it all starts to make sense. I have fear of Allah's displeasure and punishment leading to me not getting to Jennah for the things that are fard upon me. My fear, more than anything, prevents me from not fulfilling those obligations.

However, for my Sunnah and nawafil prayers and actions, I do them out of love and hope. I think, with every extra dhikr, prayer, smile, gift given, or thing baked that this might be the one thing that tips my scales to the right-hand side. This might be the one thing that elicits Allah's Mercy to enter me into His Jennah. This might be the one thing that elevates my rank to something close to my perfect and beloved Rabb's countenance. That's what drives me to do that little extra, give that little more, go the extra mile,

Subhaan Allah, it took 23 years to get my own perspective on fear and hope! Okay, back to the mopping.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Prayer: The Price and the Debt

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

When you're tired and the adhaan for fajr goes, and you waver about whether to drag yourself up and pray or just stay in bed... consider the price of the prayer.

You will have to get out of your bed, go to the bathroom, make wudhu, and then perform the prayer. It may take as little as 5 to 10 minutes  of your time.You can pay the price of the prayer in those few minutes and, in turn, honor your debt to Allah....and to yourself, because the prayer is for your benefit. Your day starts with a feeling of peace and accomplishment.Once finished, if you are still tired you can go back to bed and rest easily, knowing your debt has been paid.

However if you stay in bed, you will get up later knowing that you intentionally missed a prayer - something that Allah has commanded you to perform on time . The thing you will first be questioned about on The Day of Account. The price you have to pay for not praying might add up to this. You may have a weight of guilt somewhere inside you because you haven't done what Allah has commanded you as obligatory. You may seek forgiveness from Allah and be disappointed in yourself for your lack of discipline and giving in to shaytaan's whispers.  You may make up the prayer later, but you know that it doesn't bear the same reward as praying it at it's designated time, in obedience to Allah's call. You may even fall into despair, losing respect and hope in yourself.  You may put internal pressure on yourself to resolve to pray all your prayers on time in the future. That's a lot of stuff. You are in a state of deficit - because in making this choice, you pay a high price and you don't fulfill your debt to Allah or yourself.

But if you take the easy path, you will simply get up straight away, make wudhu and pray. If your tired, you can always go back to bed. After all, for the price of 5 or 10 minutes of your time, you will have none of the headache, heartache, or guilt to deal with. Isn't 5 minutes of prayer easier than the weight of your status with Allah?

So I say to you all, when you are wavering, take the easy path....for it leads to success.

Costs and Debts

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Everything has a price.  We pay a price for getting married and a price for staying single. A price for having children and a price for having none.  A price for following Allah and a price for following our desires.

Everyone has debts. Debts to Allah, to the earth He has placed us on, to the body entrusted to us, to the parents who bore and raised us, the family who demand their rights of kinship, spouses, children, the community, employers, teachers, etc.

When considering any matter, it is important to consider its price and the debt you have to it. Can you afford the price?  Can you honor the debt?

This is the precursor for a short series of posts, inshaa'Allah, that will focus on cost and debt analysis in our lives.  Bi ithn Illah, it will help us make intelligent decisions on a day to day basis.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Polygyny: Allah's Reward in My Life

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Subhaan Allah, I am so happy with my new life I just have to say, "WHEE!" Since my time division began a couple of weeks ago, I have been enjoying that extra "me" time and more relaxation. With our school break upon us, Allah has opened up a new door for me that I'm calling, "The Socialization and Sisterhood Door." Having my free nights, means I can invite my friends over for the evening and have a really good time. Last night I invited a dear friend and her daughter to spend the evening. We had a little cooking class (bread dough) and made pizza and sweet rolls. We talked about things we never had time to touch on before. We were relaxed and men in the other sitting room asking for tea, dessert, or any of that. No problem if we laughed, shouted, or screamed. Pure, unadulterated, free, girly time!

Not only that, I was contacted by the most famous blogger in Madinah, mashaa'Allah, and today we female bloggers in Madinah are meeting for the first time at Masjid an Nabawi! I'm so excited that I have a batch of organic but super-fattening brownies in the oven right now to take to the event. Whee!

Friday my daughters and I are going for dinner at a friend's, who lives around the corner and next week I'm lining up a couple of other invitations for some girly gatherings, inshaa'Allah. I know this is just some maximization of fun during the school break, but it is so refreshing!

Even once we are back at school, I'll always have one night free each weekend to possibly do something fun. 
During the week, I'll be able to focus on my studies without so much distraction from the mundane chores and attending to other people's needs.

When I think of hubby still in the "getting to know you" stage with so many cultural differences and communication barriers in his other home, I realize that I'm the one who has it easy. Some sisters have commented that being polygyny is like being a girlfriend instead of a wife. Well, that's not exactly true because you are supported and live like a wife. What it really does is make you look forward to your time together and make much better use of it. You plan your time, more like lovers do, rather than just take everything for granted. It brings a newness and freshness to the relationship, and a whole new appreciation. A little bit of absence does make the heart grow fonder...because those annoying things aren't under your nose all the time. It's amazing how easy it is to only show your good side when you aren't under the magnifying glass every single day.

I think we women get so caught up in our families that we often neglect time for ourselves, our own friendships, the bonds of sisterhood, and the connections with family and new friends that we want to make. When we include that aspect in our lives, we are much healthier, happier, and satisfied. We rediscover a part of ourselves that is critical for our well being. I know that Allah sent polygyny to me because He knows I will benefit from it, and that I needed those benefits in my life. I feel like I've been given a huge gift, wa al hamdu l'Illah!  Believe me when I tell you that when you welcome whatever Allah sends to you, He rewards it with goodness and blessings, opening new doors that you might never have imagined.